In the news...

June 26, 2013

U.S. senators seek cost cuts for F-35 fighter jet

Bradley Klapper Associated Press
Associated Press

Senators sought cost-cutting opportunities June 19 in the Pentagon’s $400 billion program for the next-generation F-35, a fighter jet with a troubled testing record that military leaders said America couldn’t afford not to build.

Chairing the hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin lamented that the F-35 already has cost taxpayers billions more than what Congress signed up for more than a decade ago. The Democrat asked military leaders to justify costs that have soared more than 70 percent and estimates that the entire program could exceed $1 trillion over 50 years.

The Joint Strike Fighter program has had more than its share of problems over the last decade,î Durbin said. ìFrankly, its history reads like a textbook on how not to run a major acquisition effort.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, and it has been troubled by schedule delays and cost overruns. The developer, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., is building different versions for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to replace Cold War-era aircraft such as the Air Force F-16 fighter, the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marines’ EA-6B Prowler and AV-8B Harrier. International partners, including Britain, also are in line to buy F-35s.

Costs vary by the features in each model of the plane, but can reach $169 million per unit. An F/A-18 Super Hornet can cost half that much.
President Barack Obama’s budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 calls for spending $8.7 billion to develop, test and buy 29 aircraft. In total, the Pentagon envisions purchasing more than 2,400 F-35s.

Leaders of the U.S. military’s different branches stressed that costs were now decreasing.

Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall said that with the plane 90 percent developed and testing almost half-done, officials were still focusing on creating a more stable design that would help bring production costs down.

ìIndications are that this time these efforts are succeeding, but we still have a lot of work left to do,î he told a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Kendall, who once criticized the decision to produce the F-35 ahead of its testing as ìacquisition malpractice,î said stopping production while all problems were worked through would have resulted in significant further costs and disruption.

Asked by Durbin whether the program was now ìtoo big to failî or ìtoo big to cancel, Kendall said no program enjoyed such status.

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, said his service could not afford not to build the plane if the U.S. is to maintain the air superiority it has enjoyed since World War II and prepare for emerging global threats.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert of the Navy, whose F-35s will be made to take off from the short runways on aircraft carriers, said software and other costs could still pose problems for the program.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 1, 2015

News: Marine F-35 jets deemed ready for combat – A small batch of the highly anticipated – and much criticized – F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets have been approved for combat by the U.S. Marine Corps.   News: Reports: China to sell J-10 fighter to Iran, Syria? – Iran is rumored external link to be buying 150...
 
 

Oklahoma, Tulsa push for F-35 base at Tulsa International

If state and local officials have their way, the Oklahoma Air National Guard base in Tulsa will become the newest home of the U.S. military’s most expensive weapons system, the F-35 Lightning II. Members of an F-35 task force want the Pentagon to base the fighter aircraft at the Tulsa-based 138th Fighter Wing, located at...
 
 

Headlines July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 

 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 

Headlines July 29, 2015

News: Lockheed F-35s reliability found wanting in shipboard testing – The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.   Business: Rockwell Collins to upgrade Boeing comms system – Rockwell Collins will upgrade the low-frequency transmi...
 
 

Headlines July 27, 2015

News: U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria – Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a de facto “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border under the terms of a deal that is expected to significantly increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air war against...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>